Stormwater Management

Explanation of Stormwater

The Stormwater Management Program is a major element in the Port's commitment to preventing, reducing, and eliminating the discharge of polluted stormwater into Bellingham Bay. Stormwater is rain and melted snow that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, paved streets, highways, and parking lots. As water runs off these surfaces, it can pick up pollution such as oil, trash, animal waste, fertilizers, and pesticides.

The Port maintains high standards in its management of stormwater pollution and actively monitors port facilities and tenants to ensure these standards are met.


The Port is a secondary permittee under the Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit. A secondary permittee is an operator of a regulated small municipal separate storm sewer system that is not a city, town, or county. An integral part of the Phase II Permit is the development and implementation of a stormwater management program to reduce pollutant discharges and protect water quality.  To comment on this Stormwater Management Program, send the Port an Email.

In May 2008, the Port Board of Commissioners adopted appropriate policies prohibiting illicit discharges, which includes possible enforcement mechanisms for those policies.  View a copy of the Port's Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Policy.

Tools & Strategies

Some of the port's stormwater management tools and strategies include:
  • Impervious surface reduction and disconnection
  • Pollution prevention and good housekeeping
  • Rain barrels and cisterns
  • Rain gardens
  • Soil amendments
  • Tree preservation
  • Vegetated swales, buffers, and strips